Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Solar System Missions Update 2020-10

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of Oktober 1st 2020.

The big date this month is the 20th, when OSIRIS REx will attempt to retreive a sample of asteroid Bennu. They call it TAGday after the sample instrument. Meanwhile Bepi Colombo has its first Venus gravity assist on the 15th. It carries an Infrared Spectrometer that may be able to detect the recently discovered biomarker phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus.

In light of the flotilla of Perseverance, Al Amal and Tianwen en route to Mars and all the Moon missions planned in the near futuret (see list) I did a redesign for the active missions at these places on the right, listed under the respective body in order of arrival. I think that already provides a much clearer overview than clustering them around the object, and will be even better the more crowded they'll be.

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Space Observatories Update 2020-09

An update for the space observatories page, since I missed the TianQin-1 mission, a pathfinder for the Chinese gravitational wave mission TianQin-2, to launch in the 2030s, and translates as 'Heavenly Harp', no less.

The source data are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository, together with the included infographics.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Solar System Missions Update 2020-09

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of September 1st 2020.

The Mars flotilla Perseverance, Al Amal and Tianwen is still en route to their arrival in February 2021, and that also means Mars is headed for an opposition in October.

Juno will perform its 29th perijove on the 16th, while the Parker Solar Probe has its 6th perihelion at 0.095 AU on the 27th.

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Solar System Missions Update 2020-08

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of August 1st 2020.

Go Perseverance! Go Al Amal! Go Tianwen! They're on their way now, and will arrive at Mars in February 2021.

OSIRIS-REx will rehearse the sample retrieval operation one last time on the 11th before opefully going for the real thing in October.

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Solar System Missions Update 2020-07

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of July 1st 2020.

Parker Solar Probe is headed for its third Venus flyby on the 11th which will further lower its perihelion to 0.095 AU. Meanwhile, Juno has the 28th perijove on the 25th.

But the big ticket item happens on Earth, where the fleet of Mars missions are in full mating season right now (to their lauchers, get it?) for launches in July or early August. The current expected launch dates are the 14th for Al Amal, the 22nd for Perseverance and the 23rd for Tianwen-1

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Milky Way Halo Update

Here are some new data for my Milky Way halo page based on recent analyses of the Gaia DR2 releaae.


Some recent papers (see below) present Gaia-based evidence for several groups of globular clusters that came with their progenitor galaxies which were captured by the Milky Way. Apart from the already known Sagittarius and Gaia-Enceladus dwarf galaxies there are now Seqoia, a dwarf accreted about 10 Gyr ago, Omega Cen may be the its former nucleus. 21 associated GCs came from the somewhat larger Koala according to Forbes et al.(2020), as well as the Helmi stream, which may have been accreted 5 to 8 Gyrs ago. The number of 76 cluster between those 5 galaxies represent a significant fraction of the total for the Milky Way. 184 are known at the moment, some of the others also show characteristics of accretion but can not be associated with a known progenitor.

Krujissen et al. (2018) The formation and assembly history of the Milky Way revealed by its globular cluster population. arXiv:astro-ph/1806.05680v2
Massari et al. (2019)Origin of the system of globular clusters in the Milky Way. arXiv:astro-ph/1906.08271v2
Marsakov et al. (2020) Globular Clusters of the Galaxy: Chemical Composition vs Kinematics. arXiv:astro-ph/2002.10692v1
Forbes et al. (2020) Reverse engineering the Milky Way. arXiv:astro-ph/2002.01512v1

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

D3-Celestial: Automatic Time Zone Setting

Another new feature for D3-Celestial: Automatic time zone setting, thanks to TimeZoneDB , which provides an easy unterface to get the current time zone for any location on earth. The only limitation for a free account is a maximum of one request per second. So if you want to use it, I suggest register for your own account on that sevice. If you do, put your account ID in the config under 'timezoneid', if you don't want the time zone changed automatically, set 'settimezone' to false.